Rice Cereal Meat Loaf

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Rice Cereal Meat Loaf
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Meat loaf surprise, indeed. Imagine the look you'll get from your kids when they discover that this mystery meat isn't meat at all but a slight variation of a favorite cereal-and-marshmallow treat.

Cocoa-flavored crisp rice cereal (we used Cocoa Rice Krispies), bits of red and green fruit leather, and chopped dried pineapple help a classic marshmallow treat masquerade as our meat loaf. The secret: You make it in a pan, then slice it for serving, just like Mom's.

To make this sneaky main dish, first coat a bread pan (ours was 5 by 9 inches) with cooking spray and set it aside. In a food processor, briefly pulse 6 cups of cocoa-flavored crisp rice cereal. (If you don't have a food processor, place the cereal in a plastic ziplock bag and mash it with a rolling pin.) Next, tear or cut 2 rolls each of red and green fruit leather into pieces and chop 1/2 cup of dried pineapple into small chunks.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and stir until mixed. Add a 10-ounce package of regular-size marshmallows and stir until they're completely melted.

Add the cereal, fruit leather, and pineapple pieces to the marshmallow mixture. Stir quickly with a rubber spatula coated with cooking spray until well mixed. If the mixture gets too sticky to stir, place it in a large bowl, coat your hands with butter, and mix it with your hands.

Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Let the loaf cool (about 30 minutes), then remove it from the pan, slice with a serrated knife, and set a serving on each plate.

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